Yes, it’s that time again. And, since WordPress once again won’t let me add photos (nor tags nor schedule) I’m rerunning this post from three years ago. It pretty much covers all the necessary territory (and then some). Stay tuned for a new website platform coming in January.
In recognition of my new subscribers since last year at this time, I’m rerunning my standard end DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (DST) rant. But which rant shall I choose? There are now four!
So, considering that extra hour of sleep we need each night this week to compensate for the added risk to our lives from this DST upheaval (yes, you’ll read more of this below), I’ll start with my first rant, DST: Yay or Nay, from November 6, 2013. Then, I’ve added a few more links from later DST rants.
With the nearly nationwide return this past weekend to Standard Time (I say nearly because not all states or territories observe Daylight Saving Time) I got curious once again about this scourge of school children everywhere.
I’ll start with a short quiz.
1. What does DST stand for?
A. Daylight Savings Time
B. Daylight Saving Time
C. Determined Sourgrass Tunnel
2. What parts of the US do not follow DST?
B. Puerto Rico
C. Hawaii and Guam
D. The US Virgin Islands and American Samoa
E. All of the above
3. For what purpose was DST first instituted?
A. As a way to help farmers
B. As a safety measure during WWII to facilitate blackouts.
C. As a health measure to guard against heart attacks.
D. As an energy measure during WWI to save fuel
Ready for the answers?
The answers are 1-B, 2-E, and 3-D (BED, makes it easier)
I thought it was Daylight Savings Time too. I also thought it was supposed to help farmers.
I’ve learned a lot preparing for today’s blog and I am encouraged. You see, ever since my two years in Peace Corps Kazakhstan where President Nursultan Nazarbayev did away with DST in his country with just a flick of his pen, I’ve been wondering why America doesn’t do the same thing.
Actually, because we live in a democracy — and one whose lawmakers rely on special interest groups for their information (and their money; sorry, I digress) — it’s not so easy to just do away with it. As we all know by now, democracy is not very efficient. I’m not knocking it, mind you. Just saying …
So, I wondered who would these special interests be? Who benefits from Daylight Saving Time? Who benefits from changing the time twice a year?
Before today’s post, I assumed it would be the farmers. I can still remember one of my high school teachers telling us that DST would enable farmers to have more daylight for their harvest. I’ve learned differently.
Before today’s post, I thought DST saves energy, given that the U.S. extended DST during the energy crisis of 1973-74 (I remember that too). Wrong again.
Before today’s post, I also figured it must be popular among the majority for it to still be around.
Wrong on all counts.
To learn more about DST, I turned to an article from National Geographic magazine of November 3, 2013 entitled Time to Move On? The Case Against Daylight Saving Time (by Brian Handwerk) and learned the following
- DST “doesn’t save us money or energy.”
- DST first began during WWI as an energy saving measure, but today, in “any place that has air conditioning, … daylight saving is a loser.”
- Arizona (except for residents of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands ignore DST.
- Fewer than 40% of Americans surveyed think DST is worth the hassle.
- Over the past 50 years, DST has been stretched from six months to seven months to now eight months in part because several industries have been huge supporters.
- Money have always played a role in the politics of DST. In the mid-1980s, for example, the golf industry estimated that an extra month of DST was worth $200 to $400 million.
Golf? Really? What other industries benefit, I wondered? Then I read:
- During that one extra month of DST, the U.S. barbecue industry pegged their increased profits at $150 million.
That figures. Daylight lasts longer after work: more time for barbecues. I also read:
- Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving.
- Oil and auto industries have always been big supporters of Daylight Saving Time.
That’s who’s lined up advocating for DST: golfers, barbecuers, and the oil and auto industries.
But there’s an organized opposition to DST, too.
- The dairy farmers want an end to DST. Seems their cows are a bit put out with the time change.
- Teachers also want to end DST (officially, it’s the PTA, so maybe it’s more the parents).
- Quite a few religious groups (particularly orthodox ones) whose prayer schedule is based on the sun not the clock are eager to see DST end.
- The TV industry is also opposed to DST. The most popular shows, according to the Nielsen ratings, go down by 10 – 15 percent in viewership during the first week of DST.
- The Obama White House tried a petition to end DST, but it stalled because it failed to garner the required number of signatures.
There’s also an economic downside to DST for the majority of us. Here’s a quote from research done at the University of Utah:
The simple but inconvenient act of changing America’s clocks and devices back and forth represents an annual $1.7 billion of lost opportunity cost. This was based on the average American’s hourly wage and an assumption that each person spent some ten minutes changing clocks, watches, and other devices—time that could have been far more productively spent.
Then there’s the medical piece. Turns out there’s a 10% increase in the number of heart attacks in the few days following DST’s start in the spring.
So, with evidence against DST mounting, I pick up the mantle. But, what can I, one lone individual, do? Turns out there’s an organization dedicated to ending DST. It’s called End Daylight Saving Time.
Check them out, if you want to join my merry little band of
For more from my rants on DSL, see my post from March 11, 2015, Daylight Saving Time Redux, including:
a quote from The Oregonian, March 9, 2015, in an article by Joseph Rose entitled: 5 reasons why Daylight Saving Time week is dangerous for Portland area commuters
And, the following year, my post, Daylight Savings Time Redux — Again gave you John Oliver’s rant on DST (March 9, 2016).
Ready to sign the petition? Here’s the link from the End Daylight Saving Time page: Petition2Congress.
How about you? What’s your stand on Daylight Saving Time? (please note: I don’t care if we keep DST or EST; I just want to pick one and move on).
NOTE: Yes, I did mistakenly use Daylight Savings Time in my Title. Add an inability to edit the title to my growing list of WP oddities. It’s something in a theme that was once used and that didn’t update when I went to WP 5.5.1 That’s why my new webmaster will use Square Space for a new website. We’ll slog along until then. HAVE YOU VOTED YET?